The groundbreaking for Uncas A. Whitaker Hall for Biomedical Engineering was held on October 2, 2000. Classes were first held in the building in the spring 2003 semester, with the formal dedication being held on October 20, 2003. Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and Abbott, a Boston architectural firm specializing in building for the fields of education and medicine, was the architect. McCarthy Building Companies provided construction management services. This 55,000-net-square-foot structure includes a 250-person auditorium, a 2,000 square foot three-story atrium, 22,000-square-foot of wet and dry laboratory space for research and teaching, a library, several classrooms, and student and faculty lounges.
Uncas A. Whitaker was an inventor, engineer, and philanthropist who encouraged and supported collaborative medical research involving engineers, scientists, and physicians. He established AMP Inc., the world's largest manufacturer of electrical connectors and connecting devices. Upon Whitaker's death in 1975, the Whitaker Foundation was established to improve human health through the support of biomedical engineering. The Foundation awarded two grants to Washington University. One grant was used to help construct Whitaker Hall and the other was used to hire faculty and expand graduate student enrollment.